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by Kees Versteegh
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  • Author:
    Kees Versteegh
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    Columbia University Press (November 12, 1997)
  • Pages:
    288 pages
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Kees Versteegh is Professor of Arabic and Islam at the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

Kees Versteegh is Professor of Arabic and Islam at the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands. His books include Pidginization and Creolization: The Case of Arabic (Amsterdam, 1984), The Arabic Linguistic Tradition (London, 1997) and Arabic Grammar and Qur'anic Exegesis in Early Islam (Leiden, 1993).

Cornelis Henricus Maria Versteegh, better known as Kees Versteegh (Dutch pronunciation: ; 1947–present), is a Dutch linguist and Arabist. Versteegh graduated from Radboud University in 1977, the subject of his doctoral dissertation having been the influence of Greek on Arabic.

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESS New York. Preface List of Figures and Maps. Columbia University Press New York. Typeset in Linotype Trump Medieval by Koinonia, Manchester, and printed and bound in Great Britain.

H. M. Versteegh, Kees Versteegh. Edinburgh University Press, 2001 - 277 Seiten.

by Kees Versteegh (Author)

by Kees Versteegh (Author). ISBN-13: 978-0231111522.

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This general introduction to the Arabic Language, now available in paperback, places special emphasis on the history and variation of the language. Concentrating on the difference between the two types of Arabic - the Classical standard language and the dialects - Kees Versteegh charts the history and development of the Arabic language from the earliest beginnings to modern times. The reader is offered a solid grounding in the structure of the language, its historical context and its use in various literary and non-literary genres, as well as an understanding of the role of Arabic as a cultural, religious and political world language. Intended as an introductory guide for students of Arabic, it will also be a useful tool for discussions both from a historical linguistic and from a socio-linguistic perspective. Coverage includes all aspects of the history of Arabic, the Arabic linguistic tradition, Arabic dialects and Arabic as a world language. Links are made between linguistic history and cultural history, while the author emphasises the role of contacts between Arabic and other languages. This important book will be an ideal text for all those wishing to acquire an understanding or develop their knowledge of the Arabic language.

Many of the works in Semitic languages have utilized a linguist approach that is unique to Semitic Linguistics limiting the works usefulness for general linguist studies. This study is conducted in the mode and style of contemporary linguistics, making it invaluable. But it is not for beginning students of either Arabic or linguistics. A significant knowledge of both is necessary to get the full benefit of this study.
Awesome book that provides a linguistic/historical overview of the language, placed in its Semitic roots.
I purchased this book because I was looking for a resource to complement my studies of Arabic, and to show the presence of Arabic words in other world languages. I got much, much more than that!

At least the mainly historical sections of the book were written in comprehensible, elucidating language. I enjoyed reading about the origins of the language: in poetry and as a blend of linguistic forms. If you're looking for an explanation regarding the emergence of MSA (al-Fusha), this is probably the book for you. I imagine it would be useful for the professional and the layman.

The only surprise is the prize. Since the book is a standard reference in the chaotic field of Arabic linguistics, I assume the price reflects demand in the academic community. Just wish there were a cheap paperback version.
This was an excellent, well researched book. It was full of history, which added context to the discussion of the dialects, and despite being a speaker, I found it full of new information. Personally, I enjoyed most the parts on the mass bedouin migrations to Egypt and the Maghreb, the story of the Banu Hilal and the Banu Sulaym, and the great amount of information on Bedouin migrations, which help explain how certain characteristics spread.
A basic knowledge of Arabic is definitely required, or it will be a tedious book to complete, and I would also say that a knowledge of linguistics would also be helpful, as the book is filled with linguistic terminology such as dipthongs, verbo-nominal compounds, infinitives, suffixes, subjunctives, etc. It would have been useful to have a glossary at the end.
The only drawback of the book is that all of the Arabic is transliterated into English. I would have found the book much easier if the words had been left in Arabic. For the next edition, I would recommend keeping the words in Arabic, and adding footnotes to the bottom of the page with the English transliterations for those who need them.
All in all, an excellent non-Arab study into the language.

This is a very detailed and scientific analysis of the evolution of Arabic Language, although it may not be meant for the lay man. Kees Vertsteegh has painstakingly detailed-out the linguistic history of Arabic Language starting from its birth in the History all the way to the current state of the language in different parts of the Arabic world.
One point to note though: the book uses a lot of phonetic symbols but does not provide a legend for the same.
All in all, a marvelous treatise and a readable book for those interested in 'The Arabic Language'.
I just finished reading Versteegh's book and I thought it was a good read for those interested in knowing the background of the Arabic language. There's information regarding the relationship between Arabic and Aramaic, as well as Hebrew and Arabic. A student of Arabic, like myself, would find this book to be a review of the origins and similarities between the semetic languages.

The most interesting chapters are those of the Arabic dialects. The book goes into detail about the Maghrebi, Egyptian, Levantine, and Yemenese dialects. It covers their similiarities, differences, and multiple hypotheses on why FusHa has died out before and during the colonial period in the M.E. and why it is now making a comeback due to fundamentalism.

Those interested in the linguistical diffusion of Arabic into other languages (i.e. Spanish, Turkish, Persian, Hindi, Indonesian languages) will find a brief chapter summarizing all of this info.

I finished the book in 2 days, and found myself wanting more. Perhaps it's better to get this book from a university or public library rather than spend $30.00+. Hope this helps.
felt boot
I sought this book to understand how the division arose between spoken Arabic with all its various dialects and standard written Arabic which is known as Fusha. In that regard the book satisfied my interest and gave me an idea of the key differences between the various dialects, but I was left with wanting to know more about how the linguistic division arose. Additionally, the book was too technical in some parts for the layman to comprehend. An elementary grasp of Arabic would suffice. And I would have found it easier if the Arabic quoted in the book was not transliterated in English but left with the Arabic script. All in all, it was a useful book and an eye opener into the complexities of Arabic.
This is a wonderful scientific read for all those who wish to delve deeply in the background of the Arabic language. It takes up the origins and similarities between the Semitic languages and goes into detail about the Maghrebi, Egyptian, Levantine, and Yemenese dialects. It even takes up the linguistic diffusion of Arabic into other languages (i.e. Spanish, Turkish, Persian, Hindi, Indonesian languages).
A wonderful book to possess!